Rapido Newsletter Vol. 103
©2018 Rapido Trains Inc.
Dear Rapido Customer,

Sorry this newsletter is a bit later than we intended. We really meant to bug you sooner, but I write these darn things and I've been a bit swamped. Maybe I should get Jordan to start writing them. He seems to be doing everything else around here... he even moved into my office yesterday!

In this edition of Rapido News:

  • New Videos! N Scale Dash 8, HO Scale Cabbage
  • HO Scale Royal Hudson Update
  • New HO Scale RDC - C&NW RDC-2 & C&NW set
  • HO scale RDC - Run 2 In Production NOW
  • HO and N scale Exclusives for PWRS
  • HO Royal Hudson 2860 - Touring Train
  • HO VIA Rail Canada Oddball FP7 #1418
  • N BCR Dash-8 Locomotive with Yellow Stripe
  • N SRY GMD-1 Locomotive
  • Delivery Updates
  • St. Louis Proto Meet Report
  • Support Your Local Hobby Shop!
  • China Factory Closure
  • Further Reading: In-Depth Interview
New Videos! N Scale Dash 8, HO Scale Cabbage

Jordan is taking over the company! Well it seems like that, anyway. He's been busy making new videos like it's nobody's business. Our goal is to eventually bring you a new video every couple of weeks, but there is only one Jordan. We've taken the necessary DNA to clone him. Don't ask from where.

This new video shows off the first samples of our N scale Dash 8-40CM locomotive, and is the first video to feature our dashing English project manager, Gareth Bayer. He talks with an English accent. If you can't understand a word he is saying, you should be watching more Monty Python. Click here or on the image below to watch the video. Click here to watch some Monty Python.
The next new video was supposed to be an unboxing video, but Jordan forgot to open the box. So it's an "already out of the box" video of the new Amtrak "Cabbage" F40 NPCU. These are on the water right now and are expected to arrive at Rapido HQ in about two weeks' time.

We've already delivered their sister locomotives, the modernized F40s. Here's what a reviewer, GP30M, had to say about them on Trainorders.com:

Just received a modernized Amtrak F40PH and am now convinced that the Rapido F40PH family (including the Canadian versions) represents some of the best HO locomotives ever offered. Scale fidelity, prototypical operating characteristics, and top-tier build/finish quality do not disappoint. Pretty comprehensive update to the late life detail variations on these early build F40PH's with the same proven qualities of the earlier releases. The ditch lights and ability to turn the number board lights on and off are good functional updates on this run.  

I know the instructions joke that you should sell off your other F40PH models to purchase more of these as replacements, but these are so well done that all previous versions (including all brass offerings) are woefully (in some cases, comically) obsolete in comparison. Pretty remarkable that it has only now been done justice when you consider that this cowl-bodied GP40-2 was the face of passenger railroading in North America for so long. I honestly can't believe we are also getting a mass-produced NPCU zombie F40PH at this level of execution.

That is very high praise indeed and we are honoured/honored to receive it. Click here or on the image below to watch the Cabbage video:
We need a proper photo of Jordan and not just his hands. He's our Super Star.
Jordan Smith auditions for the Village People in our 3800 Hopper video .
Two pre-production Royal Hudsons on Keith Hopkin's gorgeous HO layout.
HO Scale Royal Hudson Update

Here's the latest on our Royal Hudson. The short and long of it is that we are not releasing this until we are 100% happy with it. And we're not yet at that point. We all know what happens when a manufacturer rushes a steam engine out before it's ready.
2860 features etched panels on the front.
We received new, gorgeous decorated samples which show us that from an appearance point of view, this project is good to go. We've had a lot of trouble with the blues in our Royal Train version, so we've decided it would be most prudent to match the Van Hobbies model. If you have one and you would like to lend it to us for a few months in exchange for a free Rapido model, please get in touch.

However, we have not solved all the issues with pulling power and chuff synchronization. We're adding more weight to better balance the loco and Gomez (Dan) is working with ESU to match up the chuffs precisely. Adding a cam in our model was not an option - the all-wheel gear drive did not allow space for a cam on the axles. So the chuffs are synchronized electronically.
The royal crest on 2850 Royal Train version is a fully-decorated 3D part.
We'll actually install it straight in production. D'oh!
We'll have a video uploaded to our YouTube channel by the end of August, all going well. Please subscribe to our channel to ensure you don't miss it!

The factory and ESU assure us we can start production in October, so the final, final order deadline is September 30th. Please contact your dealer before then as we won't be making inventory of these.

Please click here for more information or to order direct.
New HO Scale RDC - C&NW RDC-2 (And 3-Car Set)

So your friends here at Rapido can sometimes be a little cloth-headed. Bill finished the artworks for RDC production and Josh and I were reviewing them. We suddenly realized that we had only announced 2/3 of Chicago & North Western's 3-car RDC set. We forgot to announce the RDC-2!!!!

Orders for the C&NW RDC-1s were almost the identical in size so we're going to make the same number of RDC-2s "on spec." You can order them from your local hobby shop. The product number is 16159 (DC/Silent) or 16659 (DC/DCC/Sound).

If you didn't order the pair of RDC-1s because we weren't making the RDC-2, you have about three minutes to order yours as we have already submitted our RDC numbers to the factory. We can probably squeeze in a couple more. Click here to order your C&NW RDCs - you can even order all three as a set.

Speaking of those RDC numbers...
HO scale RDC - Run 2 In Production NOW

We're still waiting for the final tooling revisions on the ATSF RDC shells, but everything else is ready to go. So we have already submitted our production numbers for our new RDC-1, RDC-2 and RDC-3 models. The factory will complete the ATSF chassis and interiors now and then add the shells when the tooling is ready. We'll upload a YouTube video when we have a complete ATSF sample set.

(Here are some fun facts: 22% of all of our RDC pre-orders are for the ATSF DC-191 and DC-192 set, and the next biggest seller is VIA, with 12%. Looks like ATSF is the clear winner on this run!)

If you were sitting on the fence about the RDC and you realize you want to order, please contact your dealer ASAP or click here to visit our web site and order direct. We're keeping the order links up for another week and we're ordering enough materials to make an extra handful of RDCs. So if you order in the next week, we can definitely fill it. Once the links come down, we can't promise anything.
Rapido RDC VIA
6215 and 6205 in Sudbury, Ontario.
Our models feature all of the prototype-specific details
like blanked windows, ditch lights, diaphragms and snack bars.
Photo courtesy Dave Minshall.
This run includes:

  • Alaska RR       
  • Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (DC-191 and DC-192 Set)
  • Baltimore & Ohio 
  • Boston & Maine (Minuteman)
  • Boston & Maine (McGinnis)
  • BC Rail (Blue)
  • Chesapeake & Ohio
  • Chicago & North Western
  • Rock Island
  • Great Northern
  • Lehigh Valley
  • Long Island RR
  • New Haven (Script)
  • New Haven (McGinnis)
  • New York Central (Early)  
  • Northern Pacific
  • Reading
  • VIA Rail Canada (Blue Stripe) 
  • Western Pacific   
  • Painted, Unlettered 

And in addition to both Phase 1 and Phase 2 RDCs, we've tooled a ton of new details, including VIA snack bars; C&O door lights; VIA, GN and BCR blanked windows; NP snow plows; WP number boards; and loads more.

If you are located in Canada, click here to order. If you are located in the USA or anywhere else on the planet, click here.

For those of you still wondering where the rest of the Canadian RDC-2 and RDC-3s are, we should have an announcement for you this fall. Go have a beer and relax, eh?
Check out the blue paint on the roof! And the Action Red horn!
Photo courtesy Brian Schuff.
HO and N scale Exclusives for Pacific Western

Pacific Western Rail Services, or PWRS, is one of Canada's largest model railroad retailers, and they have orders open for a number of exclusive Rapido products.
2860 in its most famous role in British Columbia
Photo courtesy Brian Schuff.
HO Royal Hudson 2860 - Touring Train

In 1974 the province of British Columbia completed the restoration of Royal Hudson #2860 for excursion service. Until the 1990s, 2860 wore British Columbia crests on the nose and tender as in the photo above.

In 1978, 2860 did a North American tour to promote tourism in British Columbia. The train contained two Canadian Pacific F7B locomotives in a unique maroon paint scheme.
The Canadian Pacific F7B locomotives in Royal Hudson service
Darrell Lupson photo courtesy PWRS.
Rapido is producing the two unique F7B locomotives as well as the unique version of 2860 with the provincial crests on the sides and on the nose.

You can order these directly from PWRS by clicking here.
VIA 1418 in Vancouver, 1979.
Gorgeous Sid Elliot photo courtesy cnrphotos.com
HO VIA Rail Canada Oddball FP7 #1418

VIA Rail Canada took ownership of a large number Canadian Pacific's passenger locomotives in 1978 and gave instructions for the units to be painted in VIA colours. CP shop crews got creative, and out popped 1418... with a unique paint job. Note how the blue paint goes up onto the roof.

As we are huge VIA fans here at Rapido we've managed to convince PWRS to make 1418 as an exclusive. The model features working ditch lights and will include an Action Red horn installed, and a black horn in the polybag. Because - of course - the engine had to have two different horns.

Remember when every VIA train was a mixed bag of different paint schemes and oddballs? I love the fact that we can bring these interesting periods of railroad history to life on your layout. They are so neat!

Click here to place your order.
Digging that bright yellow stripe...
Photo courtesy Brendan Frisina.
N BCR Dash-8 Locomotive with Yellow Stripe

Most of the BCR Dash 8-40CM locomotives are still in their original red, white and blue paint today. To comply with Transport Canada regulations, CN added yellow safety stripes to the bottom of the sills, and PWRS is producing two numbers of this scheme as an exclusive. If you want a larger fleet, you can order the two Rapido models and the two PWRS models for a total of four in this scheme.

Click here for more information. The order deadline is October 15th.
Southern Railway of British Columbia GMD-1
Photo courtesy Mark Forseille.
N scale SRY GMD-1 Locomotives

Just as they did in HO, PWRS is happy to produce their local short line's locomotives in N scale. Four different numbers are offered, with two different logos. DC/Silent or DC/DCC/Sound.

Click here to order your Southern Railway of British Columbia GMD-1 locomotives in N scale.
Amtrak Cabbages finally arriving!
Delivery Updates

Both the Rapido and LRC factories have been very busy. En route from China now and arriving around August 20th are:

HO scale Northern Pacific boxcars in production
These just left the factory on Monday and are arriving in September:

We've decided it's OK to make some inventory for freight cars, so we've made some extras to last through the Christmas season. If you need more NP boxcars you can still order them from your local dealer. You can order direct, but we only sell in four-packs.
Installing couplers on the N scale 8600 coaches at the new Rapido factory
Leaving the factory next week, arriving mid-September:

We will have a surprise N scale passenger car announcement in a forthcoming newsletter.
The N scale TurboTrain is in production now at the LRC factory and we expect the entire shipment to leave the factory in early September.

In the photo below, one of our factory workers is testing every single motor and pairing them according to start voltage, down to 1/10V. This ensures that each TurboTrain has matching motors in its two Power Dome Cars.
Checking motor speeds to match pairs for the TurboTrain.
No, she isn't 12. She's 20.
The order desk has long since closed for the TurboTrain, but we are making a handful of extras. If you missed out, you can try your local hobby shop or contact us. The TurboTrain web site is here.

And surprise! More buses in production...
More info on those to come...
Dan and Gareth are interviewed by Ken Patterson for his "What's neat this
week" column in Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine.
Photo courtesy Ken Patterson.
St. Louis Proto Meet Report

I hand the baton to Gareth for this bit.

Gareth: As I write this the crowds are congregating on Kansas City for the NMRA 2018 National Convention, and we know that will be a great event. We thought long and hard about joining the fun in KC but instead decided that this year we would visit the St. Louis area for the incredibly well-regarded Railroad Prototype Modelers meet at Collinsville, Illinois, just a couple of weeks before. After all, if we could impress these guys (or simply get out of there alive) then we were made!
There were quite a few weathered 3,800 hoppers on display on the RPM tables,
and our favourite was this TH&B example by Bob Rivard, yes, THE Bob Rivard.
We are not worthy! We are not worthy!
Dan Darnell and I (super excited to be visiting my first RPM meet) were flying the Rapido flag for the two-day event, along with many other manufacturers, traders and over 650 of the finest modellers in North America. This was the first chance for many guys to see, fondle and photograph our recently announced HO Scale RS-11, RS-18 and Tempo Cars and, of course, the N Scale Dash 8-40CM. Of course we also had lots of other stuff to show off, including production samples of the gorgeous Mid-Train Dome, the HO Scale B36-7 and upgraded Well Car and much more!

We also showed off some initial renderings of a new HO scale product we're working on. Jason tells me to just leave it at that...
Nothing to see here. Please move along.
It was an absolute pleasure to chat with so many of the guys there. The amount of knowledge in that convention center was incredible and we made loads of great contacts that are sure to help us make better models in the future. Thanks to everyone who came along to our stand - unsurprisingly the RS-11 and B36-7 proved to be the most popular if the number of fondles is anything to go by! Dan even took a few of his own models with him to display on the RPM tables. I'll take some of my own next year (as soon as I recover them from my storage unit in the UK).
Dan D. took some models along to the event, including this awesome CN cab and trailer. He thinks the trailer would be a great next intermodal project for Rapido.
What do you think?
For me St. Louis was the culmination of an incredibly busy year that has seen the launches of the B36-7, FA-2 and FB-2 and the N Scale Dash 8. It seemed only right to take advantage of the trip down to the Midwest to take a well-earned week off and enjoy some railfanning between St. Louis and Kansas City.
Catch of the week for Gareth on his railfan holiday was this Union Pacific
heritage fleet locomotive - Western Pacific 1983 - on a stack train.
Photo by Gareth Bayer
Scratching head moment of the week was finding this ex-Canadian Pacific
SW1200RS (now owned by the Respondek Railroad) tucked away in a spur at
America's Central Port in Granite City, Illinois.
It was parked next to an ex-CP SD40-2! Photo by Gareth Bayer
Back to you, Jason!
Buying some quality freight cars at Maritime Hobbies in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Support Your Local Hobby Shop!

Jason: Thanks, Gareth!

I'm going to try not to sound preachy while actually being preachy. Did you know that over 90% of Rapido's sales are to hobby shops? While we won't turn away any direct customer, we encourage you to reserve Rapido products with your favourite/favorite hobby store.

The local hobby shop is under threat - even the really good ones that sell online and have lots of stock. People go to the store, test a locomotive, buy some glue or drill bits, and then go to eBay to buy the locomotive because it's $10 cheaper. There's no after-market support on eBay.

Your local hobby shop can't survive on glue and drill bit sales. If you are taking up the shop owner's time inquiring about the model, testing it, or even bringing in your models for repair, be a man and order your stuff from the guy (or girl) too.

If your local hobby shop is one of those small places with an angry guy behind the counter who takes four weeks to get a Walthers order in or loses your reservations, then don't give him your business. But please don't paint every train store with the same brush. Those crummy shops will all close down soon anyway. There are plenty of great train stores out there, but if we don't support them they can't survive.

OK - I'll get off my soapbox.
The letter that was posted on the door at Affa last month.
China Factory Closure

Many of you have heard the news by now that a major factory that produces model trains in China has shut down with very little notice. Affatech was owned by K.K. Ku (who used to live near me in Toronto) and he made models for many North American and European manufacturers. We found out about it accidentally as our junior production manager used to work at Affa and still knows everyone there. We have already reached out to some of the manufacturers affected and have offered the use of our factories.

This is not the first time a closure like this has happened and it won't be the last. Businesses all over the world shut down for a variety of reasons. In this case, K.K. was ready to retire and his kids didn't want to take over the business.

In light of this, I want to dispel some of the myths about production in China. Regular readers will know most of this already.

1. We can't bring production back here.

The industry of super-detailed model trains was entirely home-grown. Home grown in Dongguan, China, that is. It never existed here. If you're about to shout "Kadee" tell me how many locomotives they bring out. And if you're about to shout "Micro-Trains" or "Accurail" tell me how many parts are assembled on their models compared to the super-detailed models made in China. These jobs can't come back to the USA or Canada because they never existed here.

2. This has nothing to do with tariffs.

There are currently no duties on model trains, which are classified as toys. If tariffs are placed on toys made in China, everyone's Christmas shopping bill will increase by 25%, and it will likely cause a revolution on the streets of America. I doubt that any tariffs will be placed on toys, and I hope for all our sakes that I am right. It would cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs, including the jobs of most hobby store employees. If you are worried about it, I suggest you write to your local Congressman or Congresswoman and express your concerns. Remember - they work for you.

3. Have no worries.

Back in 2007 Rapido lost its factory, but in that case the owner stole the money and ran away. We eventually got our moulds out of the locked building. It was stressful and difficult but we got through it. The same will happen with the manufacturers affected now. If these guys got through the recession, they will get through this hiccup. Rapido's two factories are still open and we're expanding to meet the expected surge in demand. There are plenty of other factories in China that can make the models as well. So have no fear - the industry is not yet in dire peril!
Last night I gave a presentation to the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club with a behind-the-scenes look at our industry. We had a great turnout. It was wonderful seeing everyone!
Further Reading: In-Depth Interview

If you are interested in more behind-the-scenes information about how decisions are made by Rapido and other model train manufacturers, I invite you to read an interview I gave to John Longhurst for his M&M Sub blog. I go into much greater detail than I do here. Click here to read it. To coin the BOSS in the Doctor Who story "The Green Death," the difficult thing is to stop me talking...

While you're there, check out John's report on the gorgeous model railroad of my friend, Dave Gunn. You will have rarely seen such spectacular modelling. Click here to read that.

That's all for this newsletter, which was supposed to be short. Just an FYI, we're making a few surprise production runs over the next year or so. We'll announce them when they are on the water from the factory, and then they will be sold - from your local hobby shop and through us directly - on a first-come, first-served basis. We're doing this so the factories always have stuff to do in case a project they are working on gets delayed. So I encourage you to keep an eye on these newsletters. You never know what may be hidden inside!

I'm off to China in a few days' time, and Gareth is coming with me. It's his first trip to our factories! You can expect updates on our Facebook page and YouTube channel when we are there. Should be fun!

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.
USA: PO Box 796, Higganum, CT 06441
Canada: 500 Alden Road, Unit 21, Markham, ON L3R 5H5